Nortel unveiled a new product strategy last week, designed to provide customers with a smooth transition from PBX and data networks to convergent technology which combines voice, video and data on a broadband IP infrastructure.
The announcements represent Nortel's first indication of its future product direction since it acquired Bay Networks nine months ago.
New products in the pipeline include: a series of data network products which will enable companies to add high quality telephony to their existing IP/data networks incrementally; NT server-based communication software which allows users to choose a combination of circuit and packet switching; an IP telephone; and a multi-service packaged IP-telephony solution for small to medium businesses and branch offices.
Enhancements to existing products include: the release of Meridian 1 as an IP LAN PBX; integration of the Optivity network management solution to support data products and Meridian 1 systems; voice over IP enablement of the Meridian HomeOffice II telecommuting product; a remote user version of Meridian; voice over IP lineside capacity on Meridian SL-100 large enterprise; and Switch Manager, a systems management GUI for the MSL-100.
Nortel has not yet released technical details, names or pricing for the new products, which are expected to be available by the end of the year.
Nortel product marketing and strategy director Paul Templeton said companies were looking for flexible packages to enable them to migrate progressively to IP-telephony from their existing voice and data networks, without compromising service quality.
"Customers can migrate different parts (of their operations) in different ways without giving up their traditional values," Templeton said.
Trevor Dearing, solutions marketing manager at Nortel, added that small and medium-sized businesses are likely to lead enterprise customers in the adoption of convergent technology, because large companies have a greater investment in PBXs and will be slower to replace them.
Nortel has signed a global alliance with Hewlett-Packard which will see the two companies working together to deliver consulting, design, implementation and support and financing services around Nortel products.
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